Nobody wants to hear they’re at risk for Type 2 diabetes. It can harm your heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, gums, skin, and even lead to blindness and amputations if not managed properly.
But you’re not alone. One in three Americans are prediabetic, which means their blood sugar is higher than normal, and 90 percent of them don’t even know.
The good news? You can do something about it! Changing your lifestyle to lose weight, increasing your physical activity and eating the right foods can cut your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than half.
And we’re going to help you do it.
Preventing Type 2 diabetes starts today
Over the next six months, we’ll be talking about everything you can do prevent Type 2 diabetes. With help from Danielle Repko, an ACE-certified health coach at OhioHealth Group, we’ll break down the diabetes prevention program she leads into bite-size chunks you can digest at your own pace, with worksheets and resources to keep you on track.
We’ll also follow participants in OhioHealth’s diabetes prevention program who, like you, are ready to begin their journey to better health. Together, we’ll learn from their experiences and hear how they’re overcoming personal challenges and staying motivated to reach their goals.
Make your action plan
In this six-month journey, you should plan to increase your activity level to 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week and lose five to seven percent of your body weight (5-7 pounds for every 100 pounds you weigh now). If that sounds impossible, remind yourself that your journey is going to start paying off long before you reach your goals. In just a few weeks, you’ll start to have more energy, sleep better and gain confidence. And by the end of your first month, you’ll see improvements in your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Each month, we’ll cover three topics to help you reach your goals, touching on the core principles of any diabetes prevention program: diet, exercise and lifestyle modification.
Begin building your personal action plan today by setting goals you want to achieve. You can update it after each episode in this series. Your action plan should be:
- Realistic: Make plans that fit your life.
- Doable: Plan small changes you will make over time that will contribute to your big goals.
- Specific: Think about what you will do, then where, when and how long you will do it.
- Flexible: Look for ways to cope with challenges, outline strategies to rebound from setbacks and, if something isn’t working, revise your plan.
- Focused on behaviors: Your actions control your outcomes.
- Enjoyable: Change doesn’t have to be painful. Find activities and foods you enjoy.
You’re already halfway there
“Everyone feels intimidated and overwhelmed when they begin a diabetes prevention program,” says Repko. But by making the decision to take control of your health by changing your life, you’ve already overcome your biggest hurdle – your doubts.
“Remember, you don’t have to tackle everything all at once,” says Repko. “The goal we’re after isn’t a temporary fix; it’s about changing your habits long-term. By making small changes over time, you will reach your goals and you can prevent diabetes.”
We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Want to join an official Diabetes Prevention Program? Check with your employer (OhioHealth offers a program for associates), your local YMCA or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of recognized locations to find a program near you.